INTRODUCTION: This shall be the first of a series of articles for NARS NEWS, and it is hoped that they will continue monthly for some time. Our topic will be HF propagation, with special emphasis on the seasonal changes that effect each band. Other services concentrate on sunspot numbers and readings available on WWV, which are also important. Forecasts presented in these reports are one operator's opinion, and come from being active on the bands. We hope members find this series useful and interesting. We will be brief and cram maximum information into available space.
HIGH BANDS: It is winter, and there is a large area to the north where the sun doesn't shine. DX paths across this area will be difficult on 10 thru 20 with existing low fluxes. Expect little or no Europe on 10, no polar openings (Russians) on 15, and abbreviated polar openings on 20. East/West paths and S. America will be fine, with daily openings to Africa around mid-day on 10&15, and from late afternoon to evening on 20. Africans are mostly SSB ops. 10 & 15 will shut down by sunset (except for short skip), and 20 will close early too.
LOW BANDS: These are in season. 40 is red hot, with lots of rare stuff on in the evenings (e.g. Africa). EU peaks at our sunset, and again around midnight to wherever the sun is rising. The 80 meter season is at its peak, but is not as good as recent years. The sunrise peak sweeps across EU around midnight. Our sunrise peak opens the band to Asia and the N. Pacific. DX on 40 is mostly CW (shortwave QRM), and 80 activity is mostly SSB.
20 LONG PATH: Grey line paths are wide open to exotic places in southern Asia via the antarctic. The morning path peaks first to India 1330Z - 1430Z, then to the entire Mid-East, parts of Russia, and finally to all Europe. EU remains available on short path hours after LP drops out around 1500 - 1530Z. The afternoon LP starts with VK and swings south around sunset. This opening is to the Indonesian area and SE Asia, but also listen for signals from or near Antarctica. LP sigs have funny beam headings, but I'm out of room. More on this next month. Listen carefully and have fun!